Birds of Suburbia
Don Russ

   ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers
                                                 Emily Dickinson

In my wake two crows settle down
and, with them all around, the leaves,
the bright shadows – gold feathers –
scattered among the older browns:
the dance in air and then the swagger
back to late October’s carrion bone.


One leaf lifted in all the falling down,
one leaf among browns, dead autumn
on the wing: solitary robin and now
a rusty heartache, dull emblem, ember
from another empty nest, the rest, yes
all the rest, some colder-yet December
edged around our freezing lake.


No-color snow, nothing on nothing,
death’s heavy presence like all of love
grown will-less. So how a movement
in this heatless world? This flutter
in an icy cage of ribs?

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